The Shepherd's Realm | Photographer: Andrew Fladeboe
For The Shepherd’s Realm: Volume III, photographer Andrew Fladeboe captures New Zealand’s courageous working dogs, tracing the historical threads that connect them to the verdant farms and steep hills of the country’s South Island.
Fladeboe has dedicated the last few years of his career to chronicling the millennia-long bond fostered between man and dog. Canines, he explains, have been by our side for more than 30,000 years, ensuring not only our prosperity but also our survival. In New Zealand in particular, herding dogs have been a crucial part of the cultural landscape since border collies emigrated from Scotland during the 19th century, and until fifty years ago, the sheep industry was New Zealand’s leading enterprise.
The artist explains that although working dogs are rarely petted or allowed inside, they do share a close friendship with the farmers who have trained them. Herding dogs are most often border collies of huntaways, a breed native to New Zealand, and they are bred and raised to be deeply in tune with the farmers. They can comprehend seven whistled commands and often can anticipate the wishes of the shepherd with whom they work side-by-side.